State candidates discuss district needs
SALISBURY - State House and Senate candidates shared the top issues they want to address during a political forum Wednesday evening.
The forum was sponsored jointly by Livingstone College and the Salisbury-Rowan chapter of the NAACP.
One audience member asked the candidates what they think are the most pressing issues facing their district.
"We have to have a vibrant economy that will create jobs by providing employment and growth opportunities," said N.C. Rep. Harry Warren, a Republican who represents N.C. House District 77.
Warren said he has worked with other legislators in Raleigh to pass bills that make the state more business-friendly and strengthen education.
Bill Battermann, Warren's Democratic challenger, said he thinks it's important to focus on improving the lives of people in their communities, not just the economy as a whole. He referred to legislation that could help people with disabilities.
"I think government and taxes should be a little bit like a committee... just big enough to do the job," Battermann said. "Not any less, and not any more."
Democrat Gene McLaurin is facing Gene McIntyre, a Republican who did not attend Wednesday's candidate forum, in N.C. Senate District 25.
McLaurin was not present for the question, but when he introduced himself, he said his top priorities are jobs, education and government openness and transparency.
"We've got to make investments in education," he added. "If we cut education, what we're doing is taking a step backwards. We've got to move forward."
Warren and Battermann were also asked to "explain the lack of presence in the African-American community" in the 77th district.
"I think it's important to have diversity in whatever you do," Battermann said. "It's also important to have cooperation in government... not only across party lines but also different ethnic groups and people of different lifestyes."
Warren said he has worked hard to reach out to the whole community, and he has held 13 town hall meetings across Rowan County. He said he was at Livingstone College just a few weeks ago, talking to the students there.
"I've made the outreach," he said, "but nobody's going to get involved unless they reach back."
In addition to those running for state offices, Wednesday's forum included candidates for the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education and the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.
Also speaking were representatives from the campaigns of Jack Brosch (Republican in U.S. House District 12), Elisabeth Motsinger (Democrat in U.S. House District 5) and U.S. Rep. Larry Kissell (Democrat in U.S. House District 8).
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.